Title: The Trials of Koli.
Series: Rampart Trilogy #2.
Writer(s): M.R. Carey.
Release Date: September 15th, 2020.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Previously in the Rampart Trilogy:
The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey.
Imagine being born in a world where everything you know, everything you do, everything you think, is shaped by those in power. Discretely manipulated into abiding by the rules without ever second-guessing decisions by these individuals with authority, while threatened into staying put by the scary creatures that dwell in the shadows beyond the walls mounted by these people, you wouldn’t question your life, your people, or the world around you. That is until doubt enters your mind, a compulsion to seek the truth calls within you, and you suddenly go out of your way to gain access to everything that was hidden from you and the world. Focusing more than ever on his characters and widening the post-apocalyptic world he’s created to uncharted territories now comes writer M.R. Carey with a sequel to his authentic and eccentric novel The Book of Koli as he begins to unravel the calamity at the heart of this world, shedding light on a disaster where mankind might have been at the root of it all.
What is The Trials of Koli about? Picking up where the story left off in The Book of Koli, the young and curious Koli is exiled into the wilderness, filled with terrifying vegetation that ruthlessly preys upon any source of disturbances. As an exile, he’s now off on a journey to a place that was once nothing more than a setting to folklores, a place that was spoken of as a thing of the past, a place that might have exactly what he needs to redeem himself in the eyes of the people of Mythen Rood: lost London. With all his hope put into this city where the mysterious tech of the Old Times might still exist, Koli travels alongside unlikely allies as they attempt to survive the threats that this deadly world of their own making has to offer.
“London was no more than a story to me.”
— M.R. Carey
Unlike the previous novel that exclusively focused on Koli’s narrative while giving this series a fascinating tone through his uncommon literacy, author M.R. Carey introduces readers with a second point of view, alternating it with Koli’s own adventure alongside his survival group, through Spinner who now serves as the perfect character to chronicle the events taking place within Mythen Rood following Koli’s departure. While this seemed risky at first, it turned out to be an excellent narrative decision that allowed the author to expand his universe, especially “Ingland”, in more ways than one. While the universe is brimming with deadly vegetation that Koli and his friends are inevitably bound to encounter throughout their journey, it is especially through the eerie and shady individuals from various isolated camps that we quickly learn that the real danger in this world isn’t in nature but in people themselves.
Where this sequel also succeeds is in developing the previously-introduced characters that have now stuck around with Koli in his journey towards discovering the truth about the world he has always been forbidden to discover. Author M.R. Carey cleverly builds on their tense relationship with one another as he explores each of their flaws and strengths in the context of survival. As Koli continues to trust Monono Aware, especially when she has proven herself to be his greatest friend, ally, and saviour, it is the tension between the others that makes this journey both thrilling and laborious for everyone. From Ursula’s inability to trust Monono with her artificial intelligence independence to Ursula’s inability to also trust Cup due to the latter’s past allegiance to a death cult, it is wonderful to watch them endeavour through countless trials and learn to grow fond of one another. If anything, the final book in this trilogy will undoubtedly bloom into a ferocious creature that will lead to The Fall of Koli.
The Trials of Koli is a riveting story focused on an ever-expanding world while crystalizing friendships through hardship.